Stainless steel sheet market price is increasing at 320,000 yen per tonne for SUS304 grade base size products and at 200,000 yen for SUS430 grade around Tokyo. Nickel price was record US$ 10.3 per pound at London Metal Exchange on Friday. The averaged monthly price is expected to be around US$ 9.5 in May compared with US$ 8.1 in April and US$ 6.8 in March. LME nickel inventory decreased to just more than 20,000 tonnes. Offshore firm demand for stainless supports the higher nickel price. Japanese export price of stainless cold rolled sheet increased to US$ 3,100 per tonne at C&F basis, which is higher than domestic market price. The domestic market players expect the higher export price could lift domestic price. Distributors’ sources indicate some users try to purchase more than immediate consumption with expectation for higher price when the higher nickel price could increase the stainless makers’ selling price by 20,000 yen per tonne for nickel series grades. The distributors are likely to increase the reselling price to pass the higher cost price though some already increased the reselling price partly.
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